There are so many ways to address this very question. It’s a question I ask myself everyday. You would think that, attempting to answer this question guides your intervention as a physical therapist.
In the past, patients have questioned why I work the way I do. Somehow, it seemed so obvious to me that I would know exactly what and how to answer. I was encouraged to treat my patients the way I was based on the clinical results that I was witnessing. I understood why I was seeing these changes but until I questioned myself on the body’s purpose, I could not answer this question simply and in a satisfactory manner.
Then it dawned on me. I asked myself: what is the body’s purpose? Look at evolution. Where do we come from? What have we accomplished?
1) For one, we stand upright. This is significant in our needs analysis of our patients. We stand upright and how we do this is a symbol, a reflection of how we have developed strategies to do so. Could it be that if we have developed proper strategies in learning how to accomplish this feat, we stand upright properly? The resultant is our posture. This posture is the resultant of our efforts to find a way to resist the pull of gravity. We learn how to cope with this almighty force mostly between the ages of 0-1, when we decide that we have crawled enough and we figure standing and walking will be more efficient. Standing upright is a skill; it’s a motor act. It is the motor act that precedes all others, in adults. It is the way we face the world. It is our voice when we are not speaking. Our posture says: this is the best way I have found to move forward. Our posture says: this is I!
2) Second, we are designed to look straight ahead. It is for survival’s purpose. Even more so, we demand, unconsciously, that our gaze be aligned with the horizon. If our feet allow us to align ourselves vertically, our eye tracking allows us to align ourselves horizontally. And there it is: 2 body parts to cover both axes!
So tell me if this makes sense to you…
You present with an orthopedic issue: low back pain, tendinitis, bursitis, or arthritis. We lay you down on a table, we find out that where you feel symptoms, the joints are limited in their range of motion, the muscles are stiff and we adjust, massage, stretch and activate tissues. We ask of you to perform exercises to regain motion and strength.
Could there be something missing?
How about we do this: we start by assessing you from head to toe. We mark down any imbalance in how your body predisposes itself to constraints. In a nutshell, we assess how you stand upright, while looking straight ahead. How about that for holistic? It’s so simple and it says so much. Doing so allows us to know the whole story. Doing so allows us to go beyond the reason that brought you to consult in the first place.
At this point in my career, I need to know that I can give myself the right to go beyond your symptom. I need to know that you will see value in my educating you about the reasons why we are here, discussing your case and trying to resolve issues. At this point, I feel privileged to be able to recalibrate posture by targeting the reasons why it is misaligned. I feel privileged to do so with simple, yet surprisingly effective technology that often makes you independent from therapy quite fast. I feel privileged to be your therapist and educator!
To learn more about my services as a therapist, feel free to browse my website. For more information on training to become a posturologist, go to www.posturologyeducation.com.
On that note, I wish you health for 2013. With health, anything is possible!